In Any Reality, They Find Each Other


In my Once Upon A Time Fanfic, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, we delve into part 2 of the Memory Keeper series. I wrote this installment early in Season 3 before the big time-traveling finale – imagine my surprise when they did nearly the same thing with the show!

In this fic, young Meriel Jones is the victim of a wicked Generational Curse, courtesy of a really pissed-off demigod. With the help of Rumplestiltskin and a mysterious companion, she has to travel back in time to the Enchanted Forest, where she has to set things right by making sure her parents meet and fall in love. She meets a very different Emma, whose life has been even rougher because of the aftermath of Meriel’s curse.

In this scene, Killian and Emma have their second meeting, and it doesn’t go so well. . .

She’d just reached the corner of the tavern, and with a quick glance to assure her that the alley behind it was empty. she started to loop around the back to check it out. She leaned out once again, peeking around the low wall separating it from the boarded up cobbler’s house next door when something came down over her head, completely obscuring her view. She fought with everything she had, but whoever he was, he was stronger. He managed to get her arms wrenched behind her and tied off, then he half-dragged her from the street into a recessed doorway nearby.

A moment later, he pulled the bag off her head, and she saw exactly who’d accosted her.

She let out a groan. “Not you again.”

“Hello, love.” He smiled down at her. “Told you I’d find you.”

She tried to wrench herself free of him, but it was no use.

“You might as well stop struggling, love. You’re good and caught and that’s an end to it.” He shrugged, still smiling that infuriating smile. She wanted to smack it off his face. She settled instead for a solid head-butt to his jaw, staggering him and throwing him back against the doorjamb, giving her enough time to try to make a run for it.

She hadn’t even gone two steps before he was yanking her back in, hard, whirling her around and slamming her back into the door behind her. She started to open her mouth to say something and he forestalled her with a hand across her lips.

“Shhhh.” He pushed himself into her, covering her with his body as a trio of guardsmen wearing the royal colors made their way into the tavern. One of them cast a cursory glance at Killian, but from behind he looked like any man, taking advantage of a bit of company in the alleyway.

“Don’t say a word,” he whispered low in her ear. “They’re guardsmen.” His breath caused an involuntary shiver down her spine.

She nodded, and Killian slowly released his hand. He glanced over his shoulder, checking to see if they were clear. He leaned back into Emma, giving her a very slight shake of his head to indicate that they were still under scrutiny, then he slowly brought his hand up to her waist and made a show of nuzzling his face into her neck.

Emma stood, unresisting, trying hard not to think about the fact that she could be caught at any moment, and with a price on her head and children to see to, that would be a very, very bad thing. Unfortunately, it was hard to string two thoughts together with him pressed up against her like that and his lips were doing some very interesting things along her jawline and just under her ear.

“Best look like you’re enjoying this, love,” he whispered again. “We don’t need them swooping in to rescue you.”

He was right. Damn.

Killian let out an appreciative chuckle as his lips moved back to her neck, trailing soft, sucking kisses down and across her collarbone.

“Are they gone yet?” she gasped quietly, tilting her head to give him better access.

“Who?” he asked, still planting kisses.

She gave him a hard shove, looking past him. There was no one around.


“Is it my fault they went straight into the tavern? I never said they were definitely watching.” He gave her a cheeky grin. “And besides, I had to find out if kissing you was as good as I remembered.”

Emma tried to get past him out of the doorway. “Let me go.”

“Not a chance, love.” He arched a brow. “It would be a simple matter to call them back out here, you know. And since I’m fully aware of your clandestine…activities…well, let’s just say you’re probably better off with me.”

“What do you want?” she asked, narrowing her eyes.

He stepped back, raising his hands in a peaceful gesture. “I only came here to warn you.”

“Warn me?” She eyed him with distrust.

“You have people looking for you. They know your name and they’ve got a damn good description of you that they’re spreading about.”

Emma’s smiled coldly. “And let me guess: they hired you.”

“They tried. I haven’t decided if I’m taking the job or not.”

“Then let me make your choice perfectly clear,” she said, putting her hands on his shoulders. He guessed her intent a second too late. Her knee came up and he was on the ground, rolling to his side in a blinding pool of agony, feeling like he was going to puke from it.

By the time he managed to get to his feet, she was long gone, and apparently, so was his coin purse. He staggered a bit, walking with a slight limp back down the dock to his ship. Once he’d gotten aboard and stripped out of his tight black leather breeches, he felt a bit better. It would still be days before the soreness went away after being laid low like that.

He pulled the cork of his flask of rum and settled himself gingerly into a chair, drinking deeply. That should help. Whoever Emma was, she’d obviously been alone and on the streets for a good portion of her life. That certainly explained her hard exterior and her exceptional dirty fighting skills.

That woman was trouble, plain and simple.

And for some strange reason, he wished he could have the night to do over again.

You can read The Memory Keeper’s Daughter (and the whole Memory Keeper series) on or at Archive of Our Own (AO3).

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